View Full Version : Thru-hike stats tracking for my site

04-11-2013, 19:04
Hi all,

I'm in the final stages of building a website and one of my personal interests is quantitatively tracking different parts of my life. The thru-hike is a perfect opportunity to track a limited set of metrics for analysis and live updates. I have the site set up where I (or I'll have somebody at home) load the days tracking metrics to the database and then I have multiple queries pulling the data into an updated dashboard. I think I have some of the obvious metrics, but based on your experience, are there metrics you would have liked to have tracked to have a more quantitative view of your thru hike attempt?

So far I have metrics like:

Total days hiking
Total 0 days
Average miles per day hiking
Calories per day
States Completed
Total miles
Current elevation
Total Dollars spent
Total hiking time - hiking time per day

I could track metrics like books read, days rained, times pooped, mood, fatigue level, etc... but I want to focus on my hike, not just tracking metrics. Since I'll mostly be using prepacked food, calorie tracking will be easier than normal.

Here's what the dashboard will look like, plus the additional metrics. I will probably have 6-12 metrics I'm displaying. The update process should only take a minute or two whenever I have internet. I'll be starting the end of April, thanks!

I'm not sure if you can see it, also here: http://i.imgur.com/IOWPCXC.png

max patch
04-11-2013, 19:18
1. I know I spent $2k buts thats not really useful to anyone. Knowing where that 2k went - food, town food, hostel contributions, hotels, gear replacement, etc etc would be useful to others budgeting for a trip.

2. nights in tent, shelter, hostel, hotels, cowboy camping.

max patch
04-11-2013, 19:18
1. I know I spent $2k buts thats not really useful to anyone. Knowing where that 2k went - food, town food, hostel contributions, hotels, gear replacement, etc etc would be useful to others budgeting for a trip.

2. nights in tent, shelter, hostel, hotels, cowboy camping.

04-11-2013, 19:31
I agree that dividing up the money spent into a few categories is more interesting. I was doing this for a while on the AT, until it got too disconcerting. The gist of it is that a massive amount of money was being spent on prepared food, and to a lesser extent drink, in towns. Lodging and resupply costs paled in comparison. I don't know how easy this would be to do with your setup.

Also for a while just for fun I tracked the numbers of different types of foods I consumed--I think I did chocolate bars and oz of peanut butter. Again, I stopped when it became alarming and I preferred not to think about it anymore.

04-11-2013, 21:23
The one I loved on my postholer journal was the coordinates of where I spent every night. With that info postholer can do this....


04-11-2013, 21:46
I like that on postholer. It's like you can probably think back and remember every day/night. I could preprogram coordinates for shelters, but I also don't want to be too current since once I enter the data, the site will reflect the changes.

Thanks everyone for the ideas.

04-11-2013, 21:54
One more...

check this out, likely the best laid out thru hiking site.


04-12-2013, 19:12

Sunny, Cloudy, Rainy, etc.


Since this is the AT, poop location would be funny. Privy, woods, toilet, etc. Will probably surprise you how (not) often you actually crap in the woods (non privy).

max patch
04-12-2013, 20:53
One more...

check this out, likely the best laid out thru hiking site.


That is awesome. thanks for posting.

04-24-2013, 10:44
I've made some progress on my site. I'm keeping more metrics than I indicate on the site. I'll be tracking my spending, so I'll most likely be able to give a report at the end of the trail.

Here's where I'm at now, it's about 95% done: www.jasonquantified.com

Let me know if there are any changes I should make in the next few days.

Tom Murphy
04-24-2013, 12:25
Track the fun stuff.

- how many times you head the wrong way in the morning

- how many times you are woken up by a shelter mate [human]

- how many times you are woken up by a shelter mate [non-humant]

- how many cases of diarrhea

04-24-2013, 13:06
With all the threads concerning bears on this website, maybe you could add a bear tracker that includes the following information:

Location (geographically; and while on AT, side trail, shelter, etc.)
Number/description (lone bear, w/ cubs, etc.)
Date & Time
Observed behavior

Of course I'm somewhat joking, but these would be interesting stats. It does vary, I've met hikers who have thru hiked and didn't see one, and others who have seen 20+. I met a thru-hiker named Lone Star last July in the White Mountains, and he said he saw 13 bears up to that point, 7 in jersey alone which is the last place he encountered one.

04-24-2013, 13:36
I've found it fun to try to assemble some stats AFTER the hike, but despite being somewhat of a geek, and one of the relatively few I think who types up an entry for every on-trail day, I don't try to track all of that stuff as I go along.
Since I blog daily, it's trivial to later determine total days hiking and total zero days. But what's trickier are the Nero days. Taken for different reasons, and of different types.

In a typical Nero, you're in town part for the latter part of one day and the beginning part of the next, so you only hike a part day each of those two days. Do you just decide as you go along what percentage of a "full hiking day" is represented by that Nero day? What about days when you put in respectable mileage two days in a row, yet sleep in a hostel and spend at least a little time "in town" in between (short Nero's)?

For Nero and Zero days, do you treat equally those days spent off-trail healing from an injury, getting over giardia? How about if you're forced to wait for a package that hasn't arrived yet? What if a family emergency or a planned off-trail time interval (a wedding, for example) takes you off-trail for a while? Yes, those are zero days, but they're not zeros that you needed to take in order to continue. My point is that the meaning behind the stats can get to be a little harder to glean.

This also throws off your "average miles per day hiking" stat, unless you confine that to purely full-days on trail. But it's possible to take quite a lot of Nero's on the AT, more than elsewhere. It can get quite significant.

"Current elevation" --- meaning elevation of where you camp? IMO more significant on the AT (an overall low elevation trail) is elevation gain and loss for the day. Postholer has space to add data like that, along with min/max elevation points during the day, min/max temperature, people met, hours hiked. I almost never filled any of that out as I went along; too much of a PITA to try to track all of that I thought. But certainly the elevation data could be derived after the fact if a person wanted to do the work.

I imagine that "total hiking time" will also be a bit sketchy, depending on how you do it. Perhaps note time you leave camp and time you stop for the day, and then take off exactly how much for lunch and other breaks? Are you going to literally set a timer for each break and take note, or just make an estimate?

Min/max temp likely wouldn't be difficult with a little recording thermometer. For folks that start early in the season, that's one of the more interesting stats I think.

The big issue for me about stats is knowing just what is and isn't baked into them. Particularly if folks are trying to use the resulting data for anything meaningful.

Please understand, I don't mean to belittle your efforts or talk you out of this. I just think it's best to think really hard through the challenges of collecting stats right from the start.

I do a little summary page at the end of each thru-hike; for an example of some issues to consider, here's what I had for the AT:
http://postholer.com/journal/viewJournal.php?sid=5dba17a57ff0bd25f537120e7405df c1&entry_id=17512

04-24-2013, 18:49
The money spent and in which category would be cool when you finish the AT. I think compiling it as you go would be disconcerting but when you get home would be cool. If you do it this way one thing I think would be interesting would be to make it where someone could pull a start point and an end point and see how much you spent between those points and on what.

I say this because Im planning on going from Springer to HF next summer and would like to know what you spent on that point.

04-25-2013, 23:11
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I think with nero days I'm just going to have to accept less miles. My town approach as of now is to get in and get out, but that could change once I'm on the trail for X amount of time. I like the location tracking and dollars spent idea with the categories. Like I was saying I'm hoping to minimize hotel days, but I also want to enjoy the full experience as much as I can. Thanks again everyone!

04-26-2013, 00:21
Well I'd like to know;

how many times I fell
how many times was I almost run over by a car
how many cars honk to say Hi when in towns
how many bugs flew in my mouth
how many ticks did I pull off my body
how many beers did people buy me
how many beers did I buy for people

silly things like this, have a great hike and enjoy the not so mundane day to day things.